Tech Software Allows Visitors & Community to Engage with Downtown for the Holidays

– “Hello Downtown Iowa City” technology continues to allow the public to take part in playful and thought-provoking conversations with objects and places in downtown Iowa City
(Iowa City, IA) – December 11, 2023 – The Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) is continuing its collaboration with tech firm, Hello Lamp Post as an innovative way to engage with the community and downtown visitors. The platform allows anyone in downtown Iowa City to have direct and unique conversations with the interactive persona to learn more about specific objects and featured activities happening downtown via a text (SMS) conversation. Similar to last year, the current installment is focused on holiday programming and gift shopping in the downtown area this holiday season.

Hello Lamp Post is a unique communication platform that uses customized A.I. technology to allow cities, business improvement districts, and neighborhoods to engage with community members in a fun and easily accessible way. The platform’s concept is to allow community members and visitors to interact and bring options currently in the public space alive. The software platform has been widely used throughout Europe for the last decade in cultural tours as a way to report crime or provide direct comments on construction projects. Communities throughout the world continue to find it a successful tool to encourage anyone with mobile devices to have two-way ‘chats’ with their surroundings, providing the public with key local information while gathering important perceptions, opinions, and ideas. Downtown Iowa City’s collaboration last year was one of the first United States cities to introduce the technology in the states.

For the holidays, the conversations and engagements are designed to provide workers, residents, and visitors with information on holiday happenings and recommendations on where they can find gifts for everyone on their list. When a user scans the QR code, the conversation starts with a few questions to learn about them before diving into more detailed information about holiday events. Users also have the opportunity to ask direct questions which can help downtown gain community feedback to identify desired improvements for the future and address any immediate inquiries.

To interact with the surroundings, visitors simply scan a QR code found on the distinct “Hello Downtown Iowa City” signs throughout the downtown area, enabling them to engage in a friendly two-way conversation via text, receiving real-time answers to shopping questions as well as information on Downtown’s holiday events. In the upcoming months, additional conversations and objects will be introduced throughout downtown providing ways to engage with featured public art, feedback on upcoming streetscape projects, and event information.

Engagement with the program can happen via the QR codes posted in different areas of downtown Iowa City or by texting “Hello Iowa City” to the direct number 319-346-3443.

“Our goal is to make downtown Iowa City a better place for everyone. By engaging with the community and visitors through Hello Lamp Post, we can learn more about what the public is looking for when they visit downtown, what is bringing them here, and what we can do to help elevate their experience,” said Director of Marketing, Christopher Hunter. “Users can start their conversation by texting “Hello Downtown Iowa City” and then ask more specific questions about holiday programming like what time Santa is visiting downtown or what shops have good gifts for moms, dads, grandparents, or the bookworms in your life.”